I used to ride the energy rollercoaster all day depending on who was around me. If I was in a perfectly good mood but my husband came home grumpy, I quickly picked that up and gave it back to him, leading him to accuse ME of being grumpy. That was before I realized how malleable and susceptible I was to other people’s energy.
You know who else is super sensitive to energy - our kiddos! As a mom, by understanding our own energy, we can help our babies feel calm and safe. As the experts say, our kids can’t learn, play and grow unless they feel safe, and the main way they determine if they are safe is by looking to us to let them know.
There are two main aspects to our energy (speaking SUPER generally). First there’s the amount of energy we have and how we use it. We may have more if we have more sleep, exercise, eat healthy, etc., and less if we are under super high stress. The other element of energy that I’m focusing on here is our energy field. That is what are we sending out and what are we taking in. We usually characterize it by how we feel or our mood. It may sound woo woo, but it is actually very real and scientifically proven. Our bodies are electrical circuits and our energy fields expand a few feet from our bodies, fully tangible to those around us.
Here’s an example of how it can work: You feel good because you slept well and ate a good breakfast. You walk into your office at work and sit down. You hear your co-worker walk in. You know before you see their face that they did not have the good morning you did. You can feel it. The energy of the office shifts. You brace yourself and your feeling is confirmed by their complaining.
The key you want to pay attention to is, after the interaction - do you feel the same or worse? Do you go back to your computer and suddenly feel frustrated by every email that comes in? Or do you listen but not let it affect your excellent mood?
This is why energy management is relevant. Most people feel worse after the interaction due to no reason that’s relevant to their life - but because their energy field is porous and is mixing their coworker’s. Then if you respond to an email with an aggressive tone, you are now transferring that negative energy. This is how easily and unconsciously negative energy can spread!
The more sensitive you are, the easier it is for you to really feel what everyone else feels, and then unconsciously take it on yourself. This can cause your mood and energy to be all over the place and basically dependent on whomever you interact with!
Our children are SUPER tuned into us. They rely on us to let them know how they should be feeling at any given time. If we are radiating stress, they are picking up that signal loud and clear. Then they are trying to make sense of what is stressful. If we are radiating calm, joy, or fun - they get that signal as well.
Our kiddos don’t react to what we say as much as how we feel to them. If you are saying “everything’s ok baby” but feeling overwhelming fear, they are not going to be comforted by your words. They will be confused because they know you are obviously not ok. This leads them over time to not trust their instincts since they feel the contradiction in your words and energy.
So what do you do about it? For me it takes constant practice and awareness. It is something I work on ALL the time. I have noticed if I can keep my energy generally calm and positive it has such a big impact on my son. He is calmer, more fun and adventurous, and much less likely to have toddler outbursts.
Here is how I got started:
- Awareness: You can’t change anything until you become aware of it. Start taking an hourly inventory of your energy and mood. Are you happy? Stressed? Once you see how you’re feeling, think about who and what you interacted with and if you are feeling how you are due to your own reasons or if you ‘caught’ it. Notice how you are impacting others. Are you treating your kids and husband with patience or being short? Are other’s moods changing because of your actions?
- Triggers: Once you become more aware, start tracking what gives you good energy and what makes you feel bad. Maybe singing a good morning song to your smiling sleepy eyed kiddo makes you smile with gratitude. Maybe turning on the news makes you stressed. Pay attention to things that help or hurt your energy.
- Grounding, Reset & Protection: These are energy maintenance techniques to connect you back to yourself, clear and stabilize your energy. There are a million ways to do this, but I will outline one way that works for me in part two of this blog coming soon.
If you are feeling resistance or annoyance to this topic, it can be because you’re not ready to let go of your negative energy because maybe it is really a big deal and something important to you that’s upset you. If that’s the case then do what you need to do to process it, this is not about being Pollyana! Cry it out or journal. Go for a run. Work with a therapist. See if you can know that you are not fully ok right now, but in this specific moment with your kids you can let it go in order to be present. Find what works for you to feel and move through your emotions so that you are in a better place when interacting with your kids (and everyone else!).
The idea is to gain awareness and take ownership of how you got where you are so you don’t STAY in or spread your negative energy.
It’s good to use this process for your kids as well! If they have a meltdown, what led up to it? Is it always the same friend or scenario or food that stresses them out? The same for when they’re super relaxed, are you super relaxed? Also notice how you and your kids pass energy back and forth. If your kid is super happy when you pick them up from school but you’re stressed out from carpool lane, how fast until they’re bratty? Or do you catch their good mood? If you’re super happy and relaxed but your kid throws a tantrum do you lose it too?
In my experience it’s not always a direct correlation that if you’re in a good energetic space that your kids will be also, but it sure helps! It lessens the tantrums and if they happen they move through them much quicker.
It takes practice and is more about awareness then another to-do that requires your mama perfection. Try it out and let me know what you discover!